Catch More Trout – Fly Fishing Tactics For Elinor Trout Fishery
Fly Fishing guide Nick Dunn shares the tactics for catching more trout this spring at Elinor Trout Fishery.
Though I thoroughly enjoy the boat fishing sport our big reservoirs have to offer, I also love to fish on some of the bigger “small waters” like Elinor Trout Fishery near Kettering. Travelling light with a single rod, small ruck sack with essentials like water and nibbles, a selection of flies tucked away in my waistcoat and a net on a magnetic clip on my back, I am able to be mobile and keep on the move which I believe is the key to success on these types of lake.
Fishing The Downwind Bank
I spent a fantastic day at Elinor in late February which turned out to be a little windy but very productive indeed. On these kinds of fisheries when the wind is blowing you will often find the fish at the downwind end of the lake and anglers who are prepared and able to punch a short line into the wind can often find success with fish close in to that bank. I tried this as my initial tactic on the day but the wind was just too strong to punch the line out with even my best efforts. I was sure there would have been plenty of fish there but it was just too difficult to get a line out but definitely a tactic I would always try to get some early success if the wind is more forgiving. I moved to a spot that was still on the downwind end of the lake but with the wind coming off my right shoulder. Still a tricky cast but a move that brought instant success.
Swinging A Single Fly
Because the wind was an influencing factor on the day, I set up with a floating line, a shortish leader of about 14 feet and a single fly, one of my favourites for Elinor and other well stocked smaller waters. This is a gold headed tadpole style fly with a long black marabou tail and olive fritz body tied on a size 10 barbless hook. The best way to fish this killing pattern is to cast out down and across the wind and simply let the wind swing the fly round on the belly of the line. The takes are usually solid tightening pulls as the fish generally hook themselves against the weight of the belly in the line as they take the fly and turn away with it. Fantastic sport followed for the next hour and some lovely fish came to the net as well as a good few pulls and a couple of lost fish.
Fantastic sport followed for the next hour and some lovely fish came to the net as well as a good few pulls and a couple of lost fish.
Gin Clear Water
Elinor is a naturalised gravel pit with a mile and a half of bank, most of which is fishable with clearance for back casting. There are 50 acres of spring-fed, gin-clear limestone water. It has been a trout fishery since 1971 and fishery owner Ed Foster has been running it for 30 years this year.
Thanks to Elinor’s clear alkaline water, natural food is in abundance and the trout ‘grow on’ well. There are some superb fly hatches later in the year, which encourages many fish to surface feed, making it a great venue to hone your dry fly skills. Depending on the time of year, buzzers, olives, sedges, damsels, daddies, corixa and daphnia all provide rich feeding for the Elinor trout.
In the spring at Elinor, I would usually start my day with a team of buzzers, probably with a Blob or FAB on the point as a controller to slow the descent of the team of buzzers. This tactic is usually a great way to present your flies to the fish by simply casting out across the wind and letting them swing round. The temptation to retrieve the line for some people is irresistible and should be avoided, unless one specifically wants to fish the flies nearer to the surface. Simply leaving the flies to fish round on the wind is by far the best tactic and the takes this method produces are often spectacular!
Location, Location, Location
As always, location plays a big part in the success or failure of your time on the water. Personally speaking, if I haven’t taken a fish or at least had a few pulls for 20 minutes or so, I will move. Remaining mobile and being prepared to move is key to success at venues like Elinor. One often finds that fish in an area that has been covered by you or others before you will be less cooperative and moving to another spot will reap better rewards.
Often, the best places are those that are harder to fish, which is why the fish in that area will be less disturbed and will take your offerings more confidently. If the fish are not taking readily, try fishing a spot that has good water depth and looks fishy but is a bit tricky because of a variety of obstacles such as the wind, trees, back cast problems etc. It’s worth spending time here speculating for a fish or two and pushing yourself and your abilities to be rewarded with more sport from fish that have not been covered by many other anglers.
From Lures To Nymphs
Late Spring is a time when the fish are on the move and actively feeding for most of the day. It offers great dry fly opportunities imitating the hatching and adult buzzers as well as nymphing with teams of Diawl Bachs. The usual Cats Whiskers, Tadpole patterns and lure style patterns will also work and don’t forget small Blobs and FABS as they are often killing patterns at this time of year. As a general rule of thumb, I would start with the bigger tadpole / damsel type patterns and then if they start to become less effective, scale down to smaller flies like buzzers and Diawl Bachs fished slow to static. It is all a matter of personal preference of course but if in doubt, stick to smaller flies fished static on the wind as this method will always pick up fish on well stocked waters like Elinor, as long as there are fish in front of you.
Summer Into Autumn
Summer time on Elinor is a little less productive but the fishing can still be exciting in the early mornings and evenings when the water is a little cooler. Autumn sees the fishing improve as the water temperature steadily drops and the fish are on the move all day. The same tactics that worked in the spring will apply at this time of year and now is a great time for fishing dries for surface feeders. Winter on Elinor offers great sport all the way through the colder months, as the fish seem to feed even on the coldest days due to the steady water temperatures derived from the limestone springs.
Elinor Trout Fishery
Elinor Trout Fishery is set in lovely Northamptonshire countryside. The 2019 season is now under way until the 31st of December. There is a fleet of 15 modern fishing boats, plus a Wheelyboat for disabled anglers that are available with electric engine and battery provided. The lake is stocked weekly with top quality rainbows and browns. I can heartily recommend a visit to Elinor, which is superbly run and a warm welcome is always to be expected from owner Ed Foster and his staff, who will ensure to point you in the right direction for productive areas and tactics.
Elinor Trout Fishery, Lowick Ln, Aldwincle, Kettering NN14 3EE
Nick Dunn is a fanatical reservoir trout angler, earning six England Loch Style caps over the past 13 years. In 2016 he captained the England team to a resounding victory at the Spring International in Southern Ireland. Nick is now a full time professional guide on the best Midlands reservoirs.